The SteelSeries Apex M800 gaming keyboard is marketed as – in the company’s own words – the “world’s fastest keyboard”. While it might not be challenging Usain Bolt for track superiority anytime soon, it certainly gets the job done in a digital world.
So, down to brass tacks – what is the Apex M800 and why should you care? The M800 is gaming periphery peddler SteelSeries’ latest elite mechanical gaming keyboard, marketed at pro players and casual lovers of quality gear alike. Being a high-end piece of kit, it also comes with a high-end price tag and at £140 is pretty much the most expensive keyboard on the market.
For your money, you get 16.7 million colour RGB backlighting and SteelSeries’ own QS1 switches among a host of other features. The Qs1 switches are worth noting though, as they have been developed alongside Chinese firm Kailh to make typing faster and smoother than keyboards that use the – now standard – CherryMX switches.
The keys use a square plunger and a spring with an LED slotted between, which allow you to only have to press the key about halfway down for it to register – excellent for those with a crazy high WPM speed.
While we’re talking LEDs, it’s worth coming back to that backlighting. It looks insanely good. I have mine set to a colour pulse but it can be completely personalised through the SteelSeries Engine 3 to whatever you like. The disco setting is also pretty cool, unless you suffer from epilepsy, in which case you should probably steer clear.
At first, I have to admit I found the keys a little clunky and awkward to use, but after a week or so of using the board, I’m finding it very difficult to go back to using anything else. Having used the M800 for both work and gaming, it’s safe to say that it holds its own in both worlds. It has 6 re-bindable macrokeys on the left hand side for speedy skill switching, and a super-sized spacebar (roughly twice the size of a regular spacebar) so you’ll never miss a jump/reload/whatever.
Outside of this, the layout is pretty much as you’d expect it to be. Again, the keys are completely re-bindable if you’re that way inclined so if you’ve got a gaming preference, you can guarantee the M800 can accommodate. It also comes with swappable Windows and Apple command keys so you don’t get lost on your preferred system.
You’ll find a pair of USB 2 inputs round the back of the keyboard for slotting in whatever you need but the lack of a headphone jack is a bit of a shame. Regardless, the braided cord that comes as standard with the M800 is durable and more than long enough to get where it needs to go.
The M800 is juiced by the SteelSeries Engine 3 which allows you to fiddle with backlighting and rebinding as you see fit. It’s simple enough to use with a wide array of customisation options for people that want to be able to go the extra mile.
Overall, the Apex M800 is a quality keyboard. It’s a solidly built, impressive piece of kit that will appeal to those who take their gaming seriously. The high price point may put some off and that’s fair enough, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better and more functional keyboard at this end of the market.